Friday, July 16, 2010

Homeowners Associations Get Nasty: Foreclose or Sue to Collect Dues

In 30 states, HOAs have the power to foreclose on homeowners who do not pay up, which has made them even more vilified than the IRS!And now some are resorting to cutting off utilities: A Georgia woman has been living without water for more than a year now, all because she failed to pay her HOA dues.

Texas State Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas), who serves as president of a huge national realty property management firm with $400 million revenue, says the Texas law that permits HOAs to foreclose should not be changed. Tweaked, but not changed. When you sign for your mortgage, he said, you also sign and legally agree to be a part of the homeowners association. That's fair -- you are duly warned and don't have to buy the property if you don't like the association's terms (my words). He advises buyers to read HOA rules carefully before buying. Seek counsel, if necessary. He also says that homeowners who don't pay their share of homeowners association dues force a hardship on other homeowners in the neighborhood, who often have to kick in more for expenses.


Life is so simple, "if you don't like it, move" or better yet, "Don't live there". If you sign your mortgage docs, you agree to be abused, fined, have your water turned off, get evicted from your own home.

And you thought the IRS was the most hated entity in the country.

Ah yes, more happy homeowners Zogby missed - this time around.


Intruder2u said...

I must have missed something really good with the Zogby thing.

Shu Bartholomew said...

Zogby has been conducting "happy" polls for CAI every couple of years or so.

When HOA Horror stories grab the headlines, Zogby is commissioned to find out just how happy homeowners are and of course, 99.9999% of the people polled are over the moon with their HOAs. Apparently of all the "random" calls the pollsters make, none of them talk to the people who are being abused by their HOA and grabbing all the headlines. That is why I point out the owners who were not polled by Zogby - they are not as likely to be "completely satisfied". If they were, the poll results might be more accurate.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Rasmussen Reports would consider conducting a poll.

gnut said...

> Zogby has been conducting "happy" polls
> for CAI every couple of years or so.


I understand you frustration with poll results that consistently show something like 70% of homeowners are satisfied with their HOA.

However, we must not be careful to delude ourselves into thinking that everyone, or even the majority of people, share our opinions about HOA corporations. Nor should we discount polls simply because we don't like the results.

Of course, that doesn't mean that these polls are beyond criticism. Without seeing the actual questions or methodology (which I wouldn't be qualified to analyze anyway), let me offer some observations:

* "satisfied with your HOA" can mean several things, and cover a range of satisfaction. For many years, I would have -- if anyone asked -- said that I was "satisfied" with every HOA I lived in, simply because I had no reason not to be. I paid my bills, they removed the trash, maintained the parking lot, etc., and didn't bother me. I never gave the matter much thought, and I never would have said that I was ecstatic to live in an HOA. But if I had been polled, I would have said "satisfied," probably even if "neutral" was an option.

* I would be more interested in a poll that tests people's knowledge of HOAs. Of course, this would vary from state-to-state, but questions like "How do you feel about your home being forever collateral to whatever debts and liabilities the HOA corporation creates?" or "How many lawsuits has your HOA filed against your neighbors in the past year?" or "How do you feel about the HOA re-applying payments to fines and attorneys fees to create 'delinquent assessments'?" type questions?

I think that would be more enlightening.